If you like watching shows and movies on your Android smartphone or tablet, you may want to know how to install and use the Kodi Android app.
Kodi is a free media player from the Kodi Foundation. It allows you to play videos or music stored on your Android device or streamed from just about anywhere on the Internet. Kodi can also be installed on Windows and Macintosh PC, Amazon Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield, and Apple TV.
This article will explain how to install and use Kodi for Android.
Warning: Kodi should only be used for content to which you have the legal right to access. Neither the Kodi Foundation nor Comparitech advocates the use of Kodi for piracy.
Always use a VPN with Kodi
If you decide to use Kodi to stream movies and shows from the Internet, you should always use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your privacy. WiFi networks are often the target of hackers who use man-in-the-middle attacks to steal users’ personal information. A VPN can help to protect you against this by encrypting your data, making it unreadable to a hacker.
In addition, a VPN will allow you to choose an IP address from a country other than the one you are physically located in. This will give you more streaming options by unlocking geographic content blocks put up by streaming sites.
Not all VPNs are good for Kodi users. Especially for Android users, a large number of VPNs available on the Google Play Store have been shown to be untrustworthy and even to carry malware that spies on users. Many can’t adequately hide a user’s location because they don’t have servers in enough countries. There are also VPNs that keep logs of users’ behavior, creating a privacy risk.
For these reasons, we recommend IPVanish for Kodi users. It has an app for Amazon Fire Stick and Nvidia Shield. For Android users, it can easily be installed from the Google Play Store. IPVanish has servers in over 60 countries. It has a strict policy against keeping logs. It’s a great way for Kodi users to enjoy streaming without having to worry about their privacy being infringed.
BEST VPN FOR KODI:IPVanish is our top choice. Has a large uncongested network of servers and achieves good speeds. Strong security and privacy features make IPVanish a favorite for Kodi and Amazon Fire TV Stick users. Try it risk-free with the 7-day money back guarantee.
How to install Kodi on Android
Installing the Kodi Android app is simple. Just navigate to the Google Play Store entry for Kodi, and click install.
If for some reason you can’t access Kodi in the Google Play Store, you can download it from the official Kodi website instead. If you download it from the official website, you will have to open your Android settings and select security –> unknown sources to run the installation file. By default, unknown sources is turned off. Turning on unknown sources allows you to install apps from outside of the Google Play Store.
Aside from this slight drawback, installing from the website is just as good as downloading from Google Play.
If you install Kodi from the official website, make sure you change the unknown sources setting back to off if you want to be prevented from accidentally installing malicious software in the future. Since you’re downloading Kodi from the official site, getting a malicious version is unlikely. But you may want this protection in place in case you visit other sites that are less reputable.
See also: What is Kodi? How can I get started?
Using Kodi to play videos stored on your Android phone or tablet
Once you’ve got Kodi installed, you can use it to watch most videos that are stored on your device. To start watching videos right away, follow these steps:
From the main menu, click videos
Choose Add videos…
In the upper-right corner, click browse
Navigate to the folder that contains your videos
Give your video collection a name, and type this name where it says enter a name for this media source
Click OK again
If your collection contains movies, click this directory contains and select movies from the list of options
If your collection contains TV shows, click this directory contains and select TV shows from the list of options
Click OK once again. Kodi will use info from IMDb to categorize your videos and make them easy to find. This process may take several minutes
Once Kodi has finished scanning the folder for videos, click videos from the main menu
Choose files. You should now see your video collection listed as an option
Click the title of the collection
Browse through your video collection until you find the one you want to play. Click to begin playing
Related article: How to download movies on Kodi legally and safely
Streaming movies or shows using Kodi
If you don’t have any videos on your device or if you simply want to watch something new, you can use Kodi to stream movies and shows from the Internet. To do this, you need to first install a Kodi addon for each streaming site you want to use.
Installing addons using the official Kodi repo
The safest place to find Kodi addons is in the official Kodi repository. Here is how to install an addon from the official repo.
From the main menu, click addons
Choose video addons
Scroll down the list until you find the addon you want
Click the addon’s title. This will bring up its information screen
Here is a list of some of the best addons to use from the official Kodi repo
- YouTube – Allows you to play YouTube videos through Kodi and block all of the ads
- WNBC Programs – Connects to NBC.com and streams episodes without ads
- PopcornFlix– Provides hundreds of free movies from PopcornFlix.com
- SnagFilms – Streams over 5,000 movie and TV titles from SnagFilms.com
- Zattoo Box – U.K. and German live television from Swiss-based Zattoo (requires a VPN if outside Switzerland)
- USTVnow – Lets you watch live U.S. network channels for free
- Crackle – Free movies and shows from Sony’s Crackle service. Ad-free on Kodi. This used to be part of eracknaphobia’s repo (requires a VPN if outside the U.S.)
- Pluto.tv – Over 100 live channels, including news channels like CBSN and Newsy
- PBS Kids – Provides popular children’s shows like Curious George, Caillou, and SciGirls (requires a VPN if outside the U.S.)
Installing addons using unofficial Kodi repos
Once you’ve installed and used a few official Kodi addons, you may find that you want more content than is available in the official repo. If so, you can get more options by installing a third-party repo to Kodi.
If you decide to do this, it’s important to understand that not all third-party repos are safe or legal. Some Kodi repos house addons that stream pirated content. Some of them also contain addons that could harm your device. To prevent you from accidentally installing an addon that is harmful, Kodi’s default security settings block you from installing any third-party addons.
These settings can be bypassed, as we will explain below. But keep in mind that you should only install addons from sources that are trustworthy. Further below, we will suggest some third-party addons that we believe to be safe, as well as some that we think should be avoided.
Install a Kodi addon from a third-party repo on Android
Here is how to install a Kodi addon from a third-party repo on Android.
Find the url of the third-party repo. For example, here is the url for a repo we recommend, called “eracknaphobia’s repo”
Tap the download button on the page
Choose download ZIP. This will download the repo’s ZIP file
From Kodi’s main menu, tap the gear icon
Choose system settings
On the left side of the screen, tap addons to show the addons settings submenu
On the right side of the screen, tap unknown sources. A warning will display telling you that installing from unknown sources may harm your device
Click yes to allow unknown sources
Go back to Kodi’s main menu and tap addons
Tap the “package installer” icon, the one that looks like an open-box in the upper-left corner
Select install from zip file
Navigate to the download folder in your Android file system
Select the ZIP file you downloaded earlier. This will install the repository to Kodi
When the repository finishes installing, tap install from repository
Choose the repository you just installed
Select the addon you want to install. This will open its information screen
Tap install. The addon should install within a few seconds
Related article: Seven Kodi repos we love and some to be wary of
Some great third-party addons for the Android Kodi app
Here is a list of some of the best third-party addons for Kodi. All of these addons stream from licensed sources and are from repos that have strict policies against malware.
- Tubi TV (Kodi1 repo) – Another free addon with thousands of movies and TV shows, hundreds of which are highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes. Also has ads blocked while playing through Kodi. Content is different in U.S., U.K., and Canada, so a VPN is required to unlock the entire library
- CW TV Network (MetalChris repo) – Allows you to watch The CW programs on-demand
- Indigo (TV Addons repo) – Troubleshooting and maintenance tool for Kodi
- USTVCatchup (TVAddons) – On-demand episodes from Cooking Channel, ABC, and other U.S. channels (requires VPN if outside U.S.)
- UKTV Play (TVAddons) – Plays live U.K. television (requires VPN if outside the U.K.)
- BigStar Movies and TV (MetalChris) – Feature films and TV shows from independent studios
- Internet Archive (Video) (MetalChris) – Classic films from the 1920’s-1940’s
Third-party addons to avoid
Here is a list of some addons that are known to stream pirated content. Many of these addons are from anonymous developers, some of whom have retired or dropped out of the Kodi community for fear of legal action by copyright-holders. Most of the repos holding these addons have been shut down, but some copies may have sprung up in other repos that have low reputations. We consider these Kodi addons to be a risk to users, and we do not recommend these addons. We list them here just so that readers will know what to stay away from.
- Kodi Durex Build
- cCCloud TV
- Bob Unlimited
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to installing and using the Kodi Android app. If you’d like more info about how to get the most from Kodi, read some of our other articles on the subject, including how to install the YouTube Kodi addon, how to install the Tubi TV Kodi addon, and how to use FilmRise for Kodi, amongst many others.
Related: Best VPN for Android